“Marvel… Do you really have to do this?”
The panther turned his head around to look at the thin dress. He nodded, “Yes, I must. I can’t control what the three other tribes do. I’ve already done what I should, but they still don’t understand. However, I can’t just watch those humans run rampant here in our lands. We are not fighting a war to expand, but one for our lives!”
“But if you leave, the other tribes will not…”
“We will die all the same if I don’t leave.”
Marvel looked at his wife and gave her a gentle forehead kiss. He softly continued, “Our tribe has always lived here. We cannot become selfish fools, like the other three tribes, for our own sake. If we do not make a stand, nobody will. I would rather die on the battlefield than let the humans capture me from my bed.”
Marvel gently stroked his wife’s slightly bulging belly. He bit down on his lip with self-blame and apologetic feelings, “I’m sorry, my love. I can’t protect you and our child by your side. I can only say that we loved at the wrong time, but you must believe me. I am going to the frontlines for our child and your sake! Our child shouldn’t be at a continent that has crumbled. He should go to an expansive land!”
“I know. I know. I love you. I love you.”
She repeated every sentence twice. He grabbed hold of her hand with his claws. The moonlight finally shone through the clouds, lighting up her pointy ears.
The wife looked at her husband. The panther’s green eyes contained his passionate love. He kissed his elven wife. He then looked into the distance and in a voice of concern, said, “This wouldn’t have happened if the previous King was still alive. Though our Queen is smart, she wields no power. The elves saved the North, but they have completely forgotten the gracious act of the elves. I can’t retaliate as a tribe leader and for our tribe’s sake… Otherwise, the Moon Fox Tribe’s end might be our future.”
His wife looked at him and responded, “I know; I understand your situation. However, I hope you can survive. No matter what, I hope… you can survive.”
“I will. I will do my best.”
He nodded, and then looked toward the South. He took in a deep breath and suppressed the tears that were on the verge of escaping. He no longer remembered how long it had been, since he was in so much despair. He had been through many dangers and countless ordeals, but that was the first time he was faced with despair.
He wasn’t against the four tribes overruling the Queen’s ideas. What he had for her was merely respect, not loyalty. When faced with a decision, he wisely chose the side with more power, and it seemed that he betted on the right side, but now, it appeared that he was wrong.
The fate of the North was in the hands of a few morons. He wasn’t against the war. They were fine if they just planned properly, but he never expected two fatal mistakes to be made. Everything had gone wrong. The side that had the initiative was now in a passive position. If the humans fortified their defences and cut off their supplies, the anthropoids’ only option would then be to launch an all-out attack. Letting those anthropoids who don’t know war plan for the war was the biggest mistake!
He knew that one man couldn’t change a war, which was why he felt despaired. He might not be able to change anything regardless of how brilliantly he fought on the frontlines, so he had to go despite his own despair.
He wasn’t fighting just for his wife and child, but also for his honour as a noble. He wasn’t a coward. Honour flowed in his blood. His ancestors’ blood once flowed in the North’s soil. How could he fall after burying his ancestors?
He had to head south. He had to fight with the humans. He didn’t want to be buried with those other anthropoids even if he only had this army alone and even if he had to die.
I silently acknowledged what Ling Yue said to me.
I looked at the soldiers below. It was night time, but I could see everyone’s face lighted up by the flames. They looked up at me as they awaited my command.
I was now wearing the Elven King’s war cloak and held the Elven King’s sword in my hand. They were the honour Mommy Vyvyan and the Galadriel gave me. The red scarf at my neck swayed gently. It was very simple in design and old, but it was Mommy Elizabeth’s protection for me, nonetheless.
I took out a protective amulet from my shirt, and gave it a gentle kiss.
Nier gave me the amulet. It was the same as the one I took with me to the desert, except that this one was made by the two of them. I looked at the small protective amulet as though I could see the two of them together. I ran my hand that had gotten used to holding a sword on it as if I was engraving time.
“Soldiers, I don’t need to say anymore, right? Your mission is simple. Get into the North, and defeat all of our enemies that dare to stand in our way. Then let us regroup inside the palace!”
As I looked at the soldiers below, I violently slammed my sword on the rock in front of me. The soldiers below shouted out in sync. All of them wore looks of excitement on their faces.
It was understandable. We were finally attacking after doing nothing for days. I didn’t prepare any camouflage gear. However, it was desolate in the north, so they’d see our preparations to cross the large canyon if they looked closely. I didn’t even hide our simply constructed bridges.
There was no reaction from the North, however. Though I knew that the four tribes were somewhat estranged with each other, and leaving their zones meant that it was likely they’d be attacked from the rear.
‘Aren’t they being excessively selfish here?
‘The North is faced with a life and death situation now, and yet they’re refusing to attack?’
‘Is the North history or do they still have strength when they’re on their last leg?’
‘I’m actually starting to feel flustered now… I really can’t make sense of what the anthropoids in the North are thinking. They’ve divided up the ruling rights in the North, yet they are completely distrustful of each other. They should be aware of the severity of the current situation, yet they’re still unwilling to suffer personal losses.’
‘They’ll die even if they don’t attack. They’d rather cling to the notion of death and waste away, because they don’t trust each other, yet they believe that someone will strike in their place.’
‘What sort of thinking is that?’
‘I don’t get it.’
‘But that’s good, isn’t it? If that’s the case, I’ll be able to get right into the North. With the most likely place to be attacked from brought under control, we won’t face any attacks.’
“Oh, right, I have a new order.”
I looked at the soldiers below and cleared my throat. I looked at Ling Yue behind me; then turned around and said, “Do not kill civilians without my orders. No plundering, and no damaging civilian structures. We’re soldiers, not thugs. If I find out someone disobeys my orders, I’ll have you killed regardless of who you are or your rank.”